Catchers Swinging Hot Bats In Minors

The M's haven't blinked yet in the Jarrod Washburn trade talks, and appear to be trying to get other teams involved in the discussion. In the minors, catchers Rob Johnson and Adam Moore are on fire, and the Pulaski Mariners had a defensive performance they'd like to forget last Friday.

Reports are surfacing from the New York Post today that a trade between the Yankees and Mariners for Jarrod Washburn are "dead." But it seems that the deal could be revived if the Mariners entertain the notion of either picking up a large share of Washburn's salary or taking Kei Igawa in trade (which would essentially perform the same function).

Honestly, the Mariners are not a club hurting for money, so the idea that the team is desperate to dump Washburn's salary is a little silly. What the M's need in return here is a player or two who can help rebuild this team, even if it means paying half or more of Washburn's remaining salary. The Yankees are right to balk at taking on all the salary and giving up prospects, but it's certainly not unusual for sellers to be asking a bit too much early on in negotiations. What remains to be seen is where the M's begin to soften --- on the money side, or the prospect side. The M's are reportedly talking to other teams about Washburn, but it's unlikely that other teams would be interested unless the M's are willing to eat most of the salary.

With all of the Washburn banter, what's going on elsewhere in the trade market for the M's? Well, all is mostly quiet for now, though one guy who will certainly be moved is Arthur Rhodes. Milwaukee was watching Rhodes last night, and the Marlins have also been mentioned as a possible destination. The Mets are cooling on Raul Ibanez, as they seem to be content with Fernando Tatis in left field. No other team has really emerged, at least publicly, as a destination for Ibanez. And the Jose Vidro trade market is, well, not good.

AROUND THE MINORS

The Rainiers lost a wild one down in Memphis last night, 13-11. The Redbirds scored all 13 runs in the first three innings, but Tacoma pulled within 13-10 in the top of the fourth. But the offenses went quiet the rest of the night. Sean White gave up the first eight runs in 1 1/3 innings. Every Tacoma starter had at least one hit. Catcher Rob Johnson continued a torrid streak by going 4-for-4 with a home run. Johnson is 21-for-42 (.500) over his last 10 games, with three homers. Unfortunately for Rob, he's likely stuck at the AAA level despite his .306/.374/.465 line, with Kenji Johjima and Jeff Clement getting the playing time with the M's.

Doug Fister's nightmare continued in West Tenn last night. Fister hasn't won since May, and the futility streak ran to eight consecutive losses after a 5-3 loss to Birmingham. Strangely, like Rob Johnson in Tacoma, West Tenn catcher Adam Moore is hitting exactly .500 (18-for-36) in his last 10 games, and now has a .324/.395/.510 line on the season. But Moore is even further removed from a spot with the big club, with the depth in the organization at catcher (and the curious decision to sign Kenji Johjima to an extension).

Denny Almonte hit two homers last night for the Timber Rattlers as they beat Beloit 10-0. Keith Renaud threw 6 2/3 innings for his first win with the Rattlers, allowing four hits.

Dennis Raben hit his third homer for Everett last night, but the Frogs lost to Spokane 11-7. Kenn Kasparek had thrown well in his first three starts with Everett, but he was lit up for six earned runs in four innings last night. The AquaSox have the worst ERA in the league at 4.98.

Pulaski lost to Princeton 6-1 last night, but it's the game they played last Friday that warrants mentioning. I should first note that the P-Mariners are having a very good season, and have a 3 ½ game lead in the Appy League's East Division. But they have been on the wrong end of a couple of odd games. They were no-hit in a rain-shortened game that lasted 6 1/3 innings, and then this past Friday happened. In a 13-7 loss to Burlington, the M's racked up a staggering nine errors on the night. Four of the errors occurred on consecutive plays in the first inning. They put up single miscues in the second, fourth, and seventh innings, and then wrapped things up with two more in the ninth. The major league record for errors in a game is 12, set in 1901 and equaled in 1903.


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